These early works by French composer Charles Tournemire (1870-1939) should be of great interest to all romantic organ music enthusiasts. They're beautifully played by Michelle Leclerc on a fabulous organ located at the San Vicente Church in San Sebastian, Spain.

The music, written between 1894 and 1902, is not the mystical fare so typical of his later output, but more like what was coming from Charles-Marie Widor and Louis Vierne. The recital opens with a wonderfully upbeat or march, that any about to tie the knot might want to consider instead of the all too familiar Mendelssohn. Tournemire's seven pieces for grand organ follow. They are organized into two suites (Op. 19 and 24), and each is dedicated to one of his musical associates. They are definitely not for beginners and in a variety of forms ranging from those typically found in symphonic music to others of a liturgical nature. Highlights include a magnificent toccata and five tiny interludes grouped as one piece where the use of modal melodies presages what would come later in his magnum opus known as . The concluding piece is another that ends the two suites on a celebratory note. The concert continues with five selections (Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7, but not played in that order) from his , Op. 21 (not to be confused with Louis Vierne's , Op. 31). These also have dedicatees and oddly enough number 1 begins somewhat like the 1954 popular song . Do you suppose one of its writers (Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn) might have heard the Tournemire? Number 7 starts off almost like the finale of Vierne's first organ symphony, which was written a couple of years earlier. One might expect Vierne to be the dedicatee, but that's not the case. He's honored instead by number 3, which is played last providing an exuberant conclusion to this portion of the recital. Next comes a , Op. 16, that's very much like the music of Cesar Franck, with whom Tournemire studied. It's only about nine minutes long, but in that short space of time the composer manages to shape a dynamically rising and falling sonic mountain. The concert ends with a couple of real rarities. Tournemire was noted for his organ improvisations and even recorded some back in 1930-1931. Then in 1956 another of his students, Maurice Durufle, reconstructed them from those transcriptions. Two entitled and are included here. When you experience them, you'll only regret you weren't around to hear all those other one-shot, spur-of-the-moment inspirations that Tournemire must have tossed off at St. Clotilde in Paris, where he was titular organist. They're beautifully played, as are the other selections on this disc, by Michelle Leclerc on a fabulous organ located at the San Vicente Church in San Sebastian, Spain. This instrument was originally built by the great Aristide Cavaille-Coll and later enlarged, but it still retains those unmistakable tonal qualities so typical of its originator. It's perfectly suited for the selections on this disc, particularly when you consider that the organ at St. Clotilde was also a Cavaille-Coll. The recording might come off sounding a mite bright on some systems, but other than that it's quite good. (P070202)

-- , Classical Lost and Found (CLOFO.com)